Visitors at the San Diego Zoo were in for a surprise this past Saturday when they were unexpectedly greeted by the zoo's newest inhabitant, a newborn Takin. The baby boy, born sometime between 7:30 and 8:00 AM on February 2nd, was quick to its feet as mother Summer immediately started work on cleaning her new son off. While this was not Summer's first child, it was the first for his father Lian. Summer's grown daughter Mei Long was also there to help her mother care for her new half brother. These photos, taken less than an hour and a half after the birth, document some the intimate first hours of this newborn's life.
Photo Credits: Rita Petita
Takins, closely related to the Sheep, are native to China and the eastern Himalayas. They have many specialized adaptations to cope with this cold environment such as a secondary coat of fur and a special nasal cavity that helps warm up the cold air they breath in. As herbivores, Takin eat essentially any vegetation that they come across including tough leaves, bark and bamboo. Although they are considered national treasures in their native China, Takin are still facing a declining population, primarily due to habitat loss. This has led to their classification as an endangered species by the IUCN.
See more photos after the fold.